Pantry Manager Bex writes about a new pilot project: The Christmas Saving Scheme
In the lead up to this festive period Epsom Pantry has been trialling a new initiative suggested by members and clients: a Christmas Saving Scheme. The idea came out of the Next Steps Focus Groups that were held with members of Epsom Pantry and clients of the Foodbank. By encouraging people to save small but regular amounts of money each week or month, we hoped this scheme would reduce the financial pressures associated with the Christmas period, as well as helping to develop good habits that will help people to become more financially resilient. This pilot scheme was very popular with over 50 members signing up.
Since September members on the scheme have been saving regularly, with the goal of putting £100 into a savings account by the 1st December. Those who reach this target will get a £50 supermarket voucher. With a month of saving still to go, 42 members have already saved over £2,500 for Christmas in total.
We held four workshops throughout the scheme, bringing members together to chat about how they were going to make these savings and talk about their relationship to money and saving. For many these workshops were a chance to build community, with one member noting that ‘you know you’re not on your own’ and another saying that ‘it has been nice to meet people who understand.’
Members have found ingenious ways of building savings into their daily habits. One member shared that ‘every time I shop, I round the money to end in a zero or five and then put the difference into my savings account’. Whilst other members have involved their kids in new activities like home baking to help cut down on the money spent on buying treats. Many members have built the savings it into their weekly budget saying, ‘it’s like the bills going out so I don’t miss it.’
At our most recent workshops all members were delighted to say that saving had become more of a priority, with nobody having saved before the scheme started. One member noted that ‘saving was not a priority before but now I think about it.’ Whilst another shared that ‘now I’ve started saving I’m thinking why didn’t I do this sooner.’
All members at the workshop agreed that they wanted to continue to save after Christmas having found relief knowing they have savings to fall back on. ‘It’s nice to have savings to know I have money to be able to go and get what is needed if something comes up.’
With the success of this pilot scheme, Good Company proposes to run the scheme again starting early next year, giving people plenty of time to build up their savings over the course of the year in time for Christmas.